Copyright 2006 Mary Greenwood
There are some stereotypes that women cannot negotiate as well as men: that women are not as aggressive, that they take things too personally, or that they are not taken seriously. As a woman negotiator myself, I believe that the same rules apply to men as woman. However I have listed five rules that should particularly help women Negotiate Like A Pro.
1. It Does Not Hurt To Ask. If You Dont Ask, You Dont Get.
It does not hurt to ask for something. The worst that can happen is that the other party says no. This is true in any kind of negotiation especially in dealing with a boss. Ask for that raise or promotion. Even if you dont get it, your boss may admire your pluck and keep you in mind for future promotions. If there is something very important to you, it is good to get it out on the table. However do your research and be prepared to defend what it is you want and why you should get it. Dont think that if you deserve a raise or promotion you will get it without initiating the conversation. In a job offer, try asking for more money and see what happens. If you have a bad customer experience at a hotel, ask for something like an upgrade or a free night. The results may surprise you.
2. Never Take No For An Answer
If you ask for something you really want and it is denied, dont take no for an answer. Try to find out why they are saying no. As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Try to think of a different way to convince the other side to give you want you want. Go back to the drawing board and try to ask for what you want in a different way. Even a minor change, a compromise or rephrasing might make it more palatable. If this is an important issue, suggest a trade-off or package deal, so the other side might be motivated by getting something they want.
3. Look the Part
You are the one who should set the tone of the negotiation. When you come into the room for the first time, you should look the part. You should wear professional clothes. A woman should not wear a lot of distracting jewelry. Bring the accessories of success such as a nice briefcase and notebook. Project the image that you want. You might want to try it in the mirror a few times. You want to give good eye contact and be a good listener. You want to seem knowledgeable about the issues or issues to be discussed. Think of the expression, Fake it till you make it. Being a good negotiator is like being a good actor. Remember to play your part and look the part.
4. Never Let Them See You Sweat
It is important to check your emotions at the door before trying to negotiate anything. Emotions such as anger can make one lose control. If you are nervous, upset or unsure of yourself, you need to focus on what you hope to accomplish and tell yourself that nothing is going to stand in the way of your goal. If the other side sees weakness, they may try to bait you, so dont give them the satisfaction of knowing they have gotten to you. When I am upset with the other side, instead of getting angry, I actually speak more softly and more slowly to get my message across. Dont let your emotions interfere with the negotiation and never let them see you sweat!
5. Be Prepared
Like the Girls Scouts, you must be prepared. If women feel they are not always taken seriously, they may have to work extra hard to do their research and be prepared. Much preliminary work must be done. If you are not completely prepared, consider delaying the start of the negotiation. If you try to wing it, you will regret it. It is important to have all the answers in advance. You cannot be over-prepared.
If you follow these Rules, you should be able to Negotiate Like A Pro.